The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
The top sports stories of 2016
As we settle into 2017, we await the great sports news stories that will either make or break the year. If you look back on 2016, there were many moments when sport dominated the headlines and everyone classed themelves a spectator.
I’ve given myself the very difficult task of selecting just 5 great sports stories that I feel attracted the most media coverage, capturing the attention of those worldwide.
1. Leicester City’s miracle as Premier League Champions
In what football defines “a sporting fairytale”, the club’s first Premier League championship in their 132-year history was sealed on 2nd May 2016 thanks to Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and their merry men. Claudio Ranieri’s side were 5000/1 outsiders to lift the trophy after avoiding relegation for most of last season and playing in League One as recently as 2009. Newsrooms across the UK were working over-time trying to secure the front and back pages of all morning papers. The story featured in every widespread newspaper and on every popular website praising the boys for their unpredictable success. The coverage was prevalent across Europe too with Italy’s media responding to the triumph by crowning the Foxes boss Ranieri King, whilst top tabloids in Germany focused their efforts on their own.
2. The world bids farewell to Mohammad Ali
On the 3rd June 2016 the world, and mostly my dad, was stunned to learn that boxing legend Mohammad Ali had died, aged 74. The former world heavy-weight champion and one of the world’s greatest sporting figures had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease. The world mourned as the story broke on front pages and thousands took to social media to pay their tribute. 50,000 tweets were posted within hours of the news being confirmed, with more than 300,000 tweets posted using the hashtag #MuhammadAli in this time.
3. The questionable Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games fiasco
The 31st running of the Olympic and Paralympic Games closed the summer of 2016 with an enormous celebration of Brazilian culture. As the United States took home gold with a total 46 medals, Great Britain finished with 27 gold medals and placed above China with 26. Only six weeks before the Games kicked off, the economic, social and political conditions facing Brazil and Rio were documented by every news outlet across the world. A huge corruption scandal and the contaminated waters of Rio hit headlines with respected organisations and athletes doubting their involvement with the Games. Despite having received a massive backlash from journalists and the public alike, Rio managed to successfully deliver some great sporting moments to over 3.5 billion viewers worldwide.
4. Andy Murray rises to #1
I’m not particularly a fan of Tennis but, like most proud patriots, I was thrilled at the news declaring Andy Murray the first British singles player to be world #1 since computerised rankings began in 1973. Having beat five-time champion Novak Djokovic to win his first ATP World Tour Finals title, Murray now completes the line-up of every member of the ‘Big Four’ — Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray — to attain the top spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings. With 59 broadcasters in 198 territories airing the Scotsman’s journey to #1 in November 2016, the global viewership on television and digital streams attracted record audiences at approximately 111 million. By the looks of things, there’s more Tennis fans out there than I thought.
5. Sharapova’s doping shame
Maria Sharapova, the five-time tennis Grand Slam champion, was handed a 2-year ban in June 2016 after failing a drugs test at the Australian Open in January. The 29-year-old Russian openly declared but played dumb her misuse of the commonly-used heart disease drug, meldonium, following the substance’s recent addition onto the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list. After the news broke worldwide, Sharapova hit out at media coverage of the scandal on her official Facebook account claiming, she says, inaccurate reports were “buried in newsletters, websites, or handouts”. With her doping ban being reduced from 2 years to 15 months following her appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the once-a-fan-favourite should be returning to the game in no time.